Before last Sunday's games, this and other gestures of player solidarity were employed on the field as a collective thumb to the nose against President Donald Trump's call for the demonstrators to be suspended or "fired". "He's fired. He's fired!'" Trump said at a campaign-style rally last Friday in Huntsville, Alabama.
"I personally believe that there are bigger and better things in our world that Donald Trump should be worrying about than worrying about the stuff going on in the NFL". Or you know what's going to happen? Boom! 15 yards. The referee goes on television, his wife's so proud of him. "This all had to do with President Trump's comments". In a poll conducted by Marist for HBO Real Sports last fall, 42% of African-Americans said players should be required to stand; now, that stands at just 13%.
Trump has reframed the debate as a question of patriotism, accusing those players who choose to kneel or sit as being disrespectful of the military and the United States.
Yesterday, during an interview with Fox & Friends, Trump did mention Kaepernick by name.
Since Trump's recent statements, several NFL players and teams have participated in this act by locking arms or kneeling during the national anthem.
On Sunday, almost the whole league - including owners and coaches - was united in protest and solidarity. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. The first public manifestation of dissent took place before the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens in London.
And there hasn't been a large shift in the share who see Trump as distracted from the nation's most important problems.
So far, players from the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers have joined the protest.
But is it indeed about race and justice, protesters and their supporters say.
This would have been impossible even a week ago, when the kneeling protests were still highly controversial.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Akeem Spence said on Twitter earlier Thursday that his father, a contractor, was denied a job on a house because of his protest. "What I learned from Coach Eddie Robinson was that if there is no flag, you stand for the Anthem".
Trump has beaten back questions about whether his focus on the National Football League protests took his attention away from a host of crises, including hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico and tensions with North Korea.